FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – The only person so far to be charged in federal court in connection with the illegal lab in Reedley was in front of a judge once again on Tuesday to answer to the charge of misbranding medical devices and false statements.
The defendant was referred to as David He in court on Friday; on Monday he was named by the judge as Jia Bei Zhu, but his attorney corrected the court and identified the defendant as David He.
October 20, David He was present via Zoom in Federal Court from the Fresno County Jail in an orange suit and bandages all over his face for an arraignment. A public defender represented him for that arraignment – but told the judge that he was not representing He for future court appearances.
According to the Department of Justice, the 62-year-old defendant is facing charges of misbranding of medical devices and false statements to federal officials – leading up to a potential eight years in custody.
On Tuesday, He was present in the Downtown Fresno federal courtroom along with his attorney, Tony Capozzi, and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Capozzi was tasked to be He’s attorney and says he met with He within the past couple of days along with his interpreter and civil attorney.
Capozzi says He came from Las Vegas to Fresno to meet with the City Administrator in Reedley and planned a meeting when he arrived. He got out of his car and the person he was supposed to meet with left the scene.
Explaining the bandages on his face during the defendant’s previous courtroom appearance, Capozzi says He was told to turn around and put his hands up. He eventually did put his hands up however, agents say he seemed to not be following their instructions, like putting his hands behind his back and getting on his knees, which then caused them to pull out their guns, push him to the ground, handcuff him, causing him to then hit his face on the ground.
“I think this case is a misunderstanding more than anything else,” said Capozzi. “He is the meekest person. He is intelligent. He has an MD degree from China, beyond medical degree, He went to get an additional degree in research because he wanted to research DNA, embryos, things of that nature.”
Capozzi says he doesn’t understand why this has national attention and thinks politicians have blown this out of proportion. Capozzi says the case is not as big as politicians are portraying it to be, but as discovery comes out they will know more.
A preliminary hearing is set for He on Nov. 8. at 2 p.m. inside the Robert E. Coyle Federal Building and U. S. Courthouse in Downtown Fresno.